31 Jan '13, 8pm

WaPo: Al Qaeda affiliate 'directing the fight' in Mali

DIABALY, Mali -- Most of the rebels who took over this central town for five days this month were Malian and spoke the local languages of the north and the south. But their commanders were different, local residents said. They were foreigners who spoke Arabic. Six bodyguards protected the most senior commander, with a gray-speckled beard and a black turban. The Islamist militant ate Algerian-made spaghetti and Mauritanian-made canned tomato sauce. Malian fighters served only as his interpreters or brought him intelligence reports. "The Arabic speakers were in charge," recalled Moussa Sangire, 71, a retired soldier who lives next to a house taken over by a group of foreign fighters. What began as a homegrown, Malian-led rebellion is now entrenched as a conflict directed by al Qaeda's West and North Africa wing, mostly foreign fighters from Algeria and Mauritania, according ...

Full article: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013...

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